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Are employers ready to deal with long COVID?

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

The latest ACAS guidance on dealing with long COVID outlines general points to assist employers and workers in navigating the effects of long COVID. The Office for National Statistics has estimated that over one million people have reported experiencing long COVID.

Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said:

“Long COVID is a relatively new illness and for some people it can be debilitating. For others, its effects are variable and a worker could be fine one day but need to be off work if their symptoms worsen.

“We have been contacted by workers suffering from its symptoms who are unsure of their rights and from employers who want advice on how to best support their staff.

“Our new advice offers practical tips for employers to manage the various effects of the condition in a sensitive way as well a range of options that can help staff get back to work safely.”

These options include health problems being discussed early, employers offering flexible working, and reasonable adjustments being considered.

The potential issues created by long COVID are further exacerbated by the fact that older people and ethnic minorities are more likely to be affected, so there is also the risk that mishandling long COVID issues will also become intertwined with discrimination issues.

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